L&D in the hot seat: Nicole Thompson, Fairfax Media

by L&D30 Sep 2016
L&D Professional interviews Nicole Thompson, L&OD Director of Fairfax Media, for her insights.
LDP: What do you see as the most important parts of your L&D program?

NT: There’s a lot of research around the need to transform L&D from the traditional model of mostly face-to-face training, into a new model of learning.

This new model aligns knowledge transfer with the way we learn about things and absorb information in our non-work lives.

We need to align to the new world of work which is on the couch with iPhone/iPad researching about things to buy, where to eat, how to fix a leaking tap on google, social media, articles on Facebook or YouTube ‘how to’ clips.

Through the intimacy of personal devices, we’re blending our private and professional lives, and workplaces need to adapt to this transformation.

We need to blow up the traditional L&D model otherwise learning teams will not survive digital disruption.

LDP: What aspect of L&D do you find the most interesting?

NT: I love technology as an enabler to learn. I think the amount of change we are all facing as part of the fourth industrial revolution is outstanding and provides lots of opportunities for L&D.

LDP: What are some of the greatest challenges you are facing in L&D?

NT: Our current opportunities are: the huge culture shift from push to pull learning, ownership of learning at a local level across the entire business (some teams are better than others), effective embedding of learning, meaningful metrics and driving accountability to develop new skills quickly as part of digital disruption. 

It is important that we provide different types of learning depending on the level of complexity and to optimise embedding.

LDP: What are some key lessons you have learned in L&D?

NT: The three big lessons are: 

1. L&D leaders need to have the courage to blow up traditional L&D, innovate and make significant changes to learning business model and their team; 

2. Emerging technology/learning/sme skills are really hard to find so we need to look globally to create multi-disciplinary teams; and 

3. The new way to do business is highly collaborative with more learning being owned at a local level.

LDP: Are there any key trends which are influencing your L&D?

NT: Absolutely. The impact of technology is huge and has totally shifted how we provide learning. It means we can provide more learning, to more people, all the time.

Nicole Thompson will be featuring at the Learning & Development Masterclass in Sydney. It takes place on 30 November 2016.
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